KETO, is it the latest fad diet or is there really something to it????
KETO KETO KETO!! If you read or listen to anything health and wellness related or don’t live under a rock, you have probably heard of the “keto diet.” Exactly what is keto? There is lots of info out there, some of it good and some of it not so good.
A few weeks ago I was able to attend Paleofx in Austin (thank you Carrol for always wanting us to grow our knowledge). Paleofx is a huge health and wellness convention with some of the biggest names in the industry. I had the privilege of hearing and rubbing shoulders with Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Joe Mercola, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Dr. Sara Ballantyne and so many more. The ketogenic diet was definitely the hot topic this year. While it is kinda a new concept for some of us normal folks, most of these doctors have been studying it for years. It actually originated in the 1920s when it was used by doctors to control seizures in epileptic patients.
Back to the question at hand, what exactly is the keto diet? I would go as far to say that keto is a lifestyle and not a diet. Most diets are temporary and just make you hangry (hungry and angry all in one). Keto eating gives you energy and leaves you feeling satisfied without over eating. The basic concept of keto eating is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. Eating this way helps to reset your metabolism so you become a fat and ketone burner instead of a sugar burner for energy. There are a few foods that you must ditch when going keto, including anything processed, grains, sugars and refined vegetable oils. When you replace the junk with nutrient dense and good quality high fat foods you won’t crave all the processed stuff that has become normal in our daily eating.
We’ve been programmed to believe that eat less, exercise more is the only way to lose weight. As long as you are burning more calories than you are putting in then you are good to go. We’ve also been taught to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day to keep the metabolic fires burning. In all reality this can cause stress on our bodies that can cause us to hang on to that extra 10 pounds or if we are lucky enough to drop the weight it comes back on times 2 or maybe even times 3 the minute we go off “plan.” Weight loss is more about quality over quantity. It’s reteaching your body to be metabolically efficient (which does not include constantly eating snacks, even healthy ones). You want to reprogram your genes to burn fat and ketones instead of sugar as your primary fuel source.
What does this look like in real life? Most of your calories will come from healthy fats but you will also want to eat a wide range of colorful vegetables. Fat does not make you fat. In fact, just the opposite is true. Healthy sources of fat will help you burn stored fat, stabilize your appetite, increase energy and help you to feel full and satisfied. Protein will be moderate. Most experts agree that you should consume 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. You can adjust this one way or the other depending on your activity level. True ketosis is achieved when eating approximately 50 grams of carbs per day. This will depend on your activity level. I personally would not try to achieve this suddenly. I have found that sometimes a gradual approach to things is much better and not quiet as big of a shock on your body. I personally would start at about 150 grams per day to help my body acclimate to a new way of fueling it.
Considering most of your calories will be coming from high fat foods, you may be wondering what are good sources of high quality fats. Here is a quick list of options:
Nuts (not peanuts, they are really a legume) such as walnuts, pecans, almonds
Whole eggs (the fat is found in the yolk)
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Organic Bone broth (you can make your own or buy it pre-made)
Nut butters (remember no peanuts)
Grass fed butter or ghee
Are there any real benefits to following a keto meal plan? Dr. Mark Hyman in his book “Eat Fat, Get Thin” lists these benefits to eating more fat:
Helps regulate blood sugar
Prevents brain aging and dementia
Can help seizures, ADD, depression, and autism
Reduces inflammation and autoimmune disease
Boosts athletic performance
Gives you beautiful hair, skin and nails
Enhances your sex life
This is a very brief overview of what eating keto looks like. If you truly want to achieve ketosis you will need to test your ketone levels and keep track of your macro nutrient intake for optimal results. I would recommend before starting any new meal plan you do your research and consult with your doctor. A couple of books I would recommend are “The Keto Reset Diet” by Mark Sisson and “Eat Fat, Get Thin” by Mark Hyman, MD. We have both books available for purchase at Honey Bee Natural Foods.